September 1, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The 35th weekend of 2012 is looking like $81 million for the Top 12 films Friday-Sunday, about the same as the last few Labor Day weekends.  The Possession broke out of the pack to open at #1 with an okay $16 million for the three-day portion of the holiday weekend.     

The Possession from Lionsgate opened with $6.1 million Friday, putting it on pace for $16.1 million Friday-Sunday (significantly ahead of the $11.4 million ShowbuzzDaily forecast issued Wednesday).  The $16.1 million opening weekend translates to a $5,700 average at 2,816 theaters (slightly above the $5,333 average for all wide-release films the last two years).  Through Labor Day, the horror film should total just below $21 million, on its way to a $37 million total domestic gross when it leaves theaters.

Lawless from Weinstein grossed $2.7 million Friday, on track for $9.4 million Friday-Sunday ($3,250 average at 2,888 theaters), just below the $10.0 million ShowbuzzDaily forecast.  With $2.1 million from Wednesday-Thursday combined, the Prohibition era drama should total $11.5 million through Sunday and about $14 million through Labor Day.  Lawless might hold on for about $32 million total in North America.

And then there is Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure from Kenn Viselman Presents.  The film targeted at preschoolers and a gullible parent grossed $97,000 Friday, which should mean $380,000 total Friday-Sunday (that’s $175 per theater for the weekend at 2,160 theaters, barely enough to cover air conditioning and electricity to the facilities) and a small fraction of the $2.9 million ShowbuzzDaily weekend estimate.  This is a deliciously awful flop of historic proportions.  A disaster, a calamity, a catastrophe, a debacle.  On a per theater basis, the Friday-Sunday average will be second worst in history but clearly the worst among films opening at more than 1,000 theaters.  Proud American (a drama from Slowhand Cinema) opened September 12-14, 2008 and averaged $128 at 750 theaters.  Creature (horror from Bubble Distribution) opened September 9-11, 2011 and averaged $217 at 1,507 theaters.  And another children’s film, Delgo, averaged $237 at an identical 2,160 theaters December 12-14, 2008.

In case you missed them, click to see this week’s Weekend Predictions.

Weekend 35: Aug 31-Sep 2, 2012 ($ millions)
Pre-Wknd Showbuzz Forecast Early Weekend Estimate Actual Friday Gross Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
The Possession LG [11.4] 16.1 6.1 37
Lawless Weins [10.0] 9.4 2.7 32
Expendables 2 LG [8.7] 8.8 2.2 87
Bourne Legacy Uni [7.0] 7.2 1.8 112
ParaNorman Focus [7.4] 6.3 1.4 55
Dark Knight Rises WB [6.1] 5.9 1.4 443
Odd Life of Timothy Green Disney [6.4] 5.6 1.4 48
The Campaign WB [5.9] 5.4 1.4 86
2016 Obama’s America Rocky Mtn [7.2] 5.1 1.6 29
Hope Springs Sony [5.2] 4.6 1.2 64
Oogieloves BIG Balloon Kenn [2.9] 0.38 0.1 1

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is a reminder of each film’s ShowBuzzDaily Forecast for the weekend (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the new weekend projection for each film, based on the Friday numbers (the third column).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Total number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade.


Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $81 million total Friday-Sunday, very similar to the comparable weekend the past few years and down 9% from the four-year average (which is heavily weighted by the extraordinarily low 2008 Labor Day weekend).

($ millions)
WEEKEND #35 Weekend Volume: Top 12 Films Top Movies Opening Each Weekend
2012 $81 The Possession $16, Lawless $9, Oogieloves $0.4
2011 $82 The Debt $10, Apollo 18 $9, Shark Night 3D $8
2010 $81 The American $13, Machete $11, Going the Distance $7
2009 $81 All About Steve $11, Gamer $9, Extract $4
2008 $50 Bangkok Dangerous $8
Avg 2008-11 $74

Check back tomorrow morning for updated weekend figures and revised estimates for domestic final grosses.

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.